Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel discussed regional and defense cooperation issues in a phone call with United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement issued yesterday.

In a statement summarizing the call, Kirby said Hagel “reiterated the steadfast U.S. commitment to its strategic partnership with the UAE and affirmed the importance of maintaining strong bilateral defense cooperation to ensure a stable and secure Middle East, a common objective of both countries.”

Hagel also noted that new forms of multilateral cooperation were required to address the evolving challenges of the Middle East, Kirby said, and the secretary lauded UAE’s efforts to work with the United States and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to expand regional collaboration.

The conversation ended with a discussion on regional issues, including Syria, Egypt, and Libya, Kirby said.